May 21 Energy News

May 21, 2018

Opinion:

¶ “This Clean Energy Champion Is Out To Break Vietnam’s Coal Habit” • The Goldman Environmental Prize for grassroots advocacy was awarded to its first Vietnamese recipient, 42-year-old clean energy champion, Nguy Thi Khanh, who hopes to end Vietnam’s reliance on coal and persuade the country to take a greener approach. [Forbes]

Vietnamese woman making cakes of dried coal dust to
fuel a kiln (Photo: Eye Ubiquitous | UIG via Getty Images)

World:

¶ Sales of BMW electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles are up more than 49% year over year in 2018. BMW’s EV sales are up nicely so far this year, 73% in the US and 25% in the UK. But EV sales have surged far more in China, where sales are up 646%, thanks largely to a new, locally produced plug-in hybrid electric version of the 5 Series sedan. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Energiekontor, based in Germany, reached financial close on the 8.2-MW Withernwick 2 wind farm in Yorkshire. The project will feature four 2.05-MW turbines. Energiekontor said it will be the first wind farm in the UK to be built without subsidies. The facility is expected to be commissioned in the first quarter of 2019, the company said. [reNews]

Wind farm (Pixabay image)

¶ South Africa is set to commission its first solar-powered desalination plant at the end of October 2018 in the Western Cape. The project is to be co-funded, partly by the Western Cape Government through the drought relief fund, and partly by the French Treasury, through a fund for implementing innovative green technologies. [ESI Africa]

¶ Enel Green Power Espana unveiled plans to build over 320 MW of wind and solar parks in Spain next year. The company, which is a subsidiary of Spanish energy company Endesa SA, will invest €280 million ($329.6 million) in the plan. It foresees deployment of 64 MW of wind and 260 MW of PV capacity in Andalusia and Extremadura. [Renewables Now]

Wind turbines in Spain (petter palander, CC-BY-SA 2.0)

¶ Drax Group will lead a £400,000 trial to capture and store carbon at its north Yorkshire power station. The technology has repeatedly failed to get off the ground in the UK. The company was part of earlier efforts to build a £1 billion prototype carbon capture coal plant, but pulled out in 2015 after it missed out on renewable energy subsidies. [The Guardian]

Australia:

¶ After months of pressure from the Australian government either to keep the old coal-fired plant open longer than planned or to sell it to somebody who will, the AGL board has decided to proceed with its original plan to close it. AGL said that an offer it got was in its best interests of neither the company nor its shareholders. [The Singleton Argus]

Liddell power station

¶ Renewable energy developer RES Australia plans to build a 176-MW solar farm with battery storage in South Australia. The company said the solar farm would supply enough electricity to the National Electricity Market to meet the needs of 82,000 homes, and it would store dispatchable energy for later use in lithium-ion battery banks. [RenewEconomy]

¶ Neoen, based in France, secured development approval by the state of Queensland for a $300 million (US$225.4 million, €191.5 million) wind-plus-battery project at Kaban. Planning minister Cameron Dick said the 29 turbines at the wind farm would have a capacity of 5.5 MW each, which would produce a total capacity of close to 160 MW. [Renewables Now]

Windy Hill Wind Farm (Leonard Low, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Tasmania’s renewable energy surge continues, with an early works construction agreement signed for a $300 million wind farm in the Central Highlands. Goldwind Australia’s Cattle Hill wind farm is expected to generate enough power for over 60,000 homes. It will create up to 150 jobs for construction and about 10 permanent jobs. [The Advocate]

¶ French renewable energy developer Neoen has received the council planning approval it needed for the Western Downs green power hub, a solar farm of up to 500 MW with battery storage, in south-west Queensland. It consists of up to 1,500 hectares of ground mounted solar panels and 2 hectares of battery energy storage. [RenewEconomy]

Site for solar farm and battery storage facility

US:

¶ Utilities are welcoming a historic rooftop solar building code in California, but urging caution with its implementation to protect non-solar customers. Utilities and solar developers are calling at the same time for a dialogue among stakeholders to effectively integrate additional rooftop solar into the grid. The new code is to be effective in 2020. [Utility Dive]

¶ Qualcomm Inc has been developing motor vehicle static charging technology with major carmakers for the past seven years. The company announced that its system is expected to be commercially available on EVs within two years, based on the fact that the cost of static wireless charging is now comparable with conductive charging. [Solar Magazine]

Solar Roadway project (Source: Designboom)

¶ The new era of big batteries has already drawn scrutiny after fiery electric-car crashes in both America and Europe. US city planners worry about a similar risk of hard-to-control blazes, if power-storage units make their way into basements and onto rooftops. So far, deployment of large batteries within buildings has been limited. [The Seattle Times]

¶ The abandonment of two nuclear reactors at the VC Summer Nuclear Station generated headlines and riled South Carolina lawmakers, but a similar scenario played out at the Savannah River Site near Aiken. The weapons-to-fuel project is decades behind schedule and its final cost increase the initial estimates by 12 times. [Charleston Post Courier]

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